The political home of Labour leaders
There’s something in the water in Mt Albert.
The Auckland city electorate has been a nursery for Labour leaders for nearly 100 years.
New Labour leader Jacinda Ardern holds the Mt Albert seat but its leader origins go all the way back to 1919.
Mt Albert had only been around since it was first contested at the 1946 election but it’s one that’s only ever elected Labour MPs.
Jump back to 1919 and a man by the name of Michael Joseph Savage won the Auckland West seat.
The Mt Albert electorate was carved out of Auckland West in 1946 and from 1919 to 1940 it was the home of Savage, who went on to become Prime Minister of the first Labour government.
Savage died in office triggering a by-election in 1940, which was won by Labour MP Peter Carr, who also died while holding the electorate, shortly before the 1946 election when Mt Albert was born.
Savage was known as the architect of the country’s welfare state and was held up by many as one of New Zealand’s greatest and most respected Prime Ministers.
Fast forward to 1981 and that was when Helen Clark’s tenure began.
Former Prime Minister. Aunty Helen.
Clark winning Mt Albert was her ticket to Parliament and she held the seat right through until 2009 when she left to accept a pos- ition with the United Nations.
The boundaries for Mt Albert have changed over the years and for one term between 1996 and 1999 it was split up and a chunk of it was renamed Owairaka, which Clark also held.
Her Prime Ministership spanned three terms from 1999 to 2008 when she was beaten by National’s John Key.
Clark’s departure in 2009 triggered a by-election in the seat, which was won by David Shearer.
In 2011 Shearer was elected leader of the Labour Party after Goff resigned.
Any chance of Shearer follow- ing in Clark’s footsteps wasn’t to be however when he announced his resignation less than two years later in 2013.
Ardern won the seat in February when Shearer left to head a United Nations peace keeping mission in South Sudan.
On March 7 Ardern was promoted after Labour veteran Annette King stood aside.
Last week then-Labour leader Andrew Little announced he was stepping down and endorsed Ardern to replace him. Within an hour Ardern had been unanimously voted in as leader alongside her deputy, Kelvin Davis.
Former Labour leader and Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark was MP for Mt Albert from 1981 to 2009.